3039Joined Sep 2014


Courting Virgo
EA Gather Town
Improving EA tech work


Topic Contributions

There might also just have been a natural progression. Toby Ord was always concerned about it, and 80,000 Hours made it a focus from very early on. At one relatively early point I had the impression that they considered shifting someone from almost any career path into AI-related work as their primary metric for success. I couldn't justify that impression now, and suspect it's an unfair one, but I note it mainly as an anecdote that someone was able to form that impression, well before the 'longtermist turn'.

It sounds like a reasonable idea, though I'm worried that the post will stop functioning as advertising if the criteria are too broad - it feels like it's already a lot to go through. Maybe we could split it into multiple subjects? That does feel like it would be a step in the spammy direction though (not to mention an increasing headache to curate)

Answer by ArepoFeb 06, 2023611

My sense is it was driven largely by a perception of faster-than-expected progress in deep learning along with (per Carl's comment) a handful of key people prominently becoming more concerned with it.

Can anyone give any outside-view reason to think EA is "unusually good at 'epistemics' / thinking about things", or that "the community isn't corrupted too badly by random founder effects and information cascades"?

I have some evidence that it isn't: a commonly cited argument for the importance of AI research says nothing like what ~20-80% effective altruists think it does.

Sorry, I misspoke. They disclosed it, but didn't publicise it. It shouldn't have been buried in a job ad.

Fwiw, someone was just observing on a different thread how many 'burner' or similar accounts have recently been showing up on the forum. So it seems like many junior EAs do in fact believe that being negatively identified by senior EAs could be harmful to their prospects.

To add to MaxRa's 'wishlist', I would add questions about location and other demographic, to see if the patterns we've been discussing elsewhere in this thread (eg the Bay area being particularly problematic) are real. 

I think it could go either way. If you think the limiting factor on auditing is the number of people you have to audit, then having the same N people be the board of trustees of all EA charities is maximally efficient. If you think it's the number of connections between sources of potential CoI, then having completely nonoverlapping groups seem optimal.

I'm thinking in terms of combinatorics. Each organisation someone is involved with is one more interest to conflict, and one more place where you can influence an interest you have elsewhere. Anyone trying to audit you has to do exponentially more work.

(Given how much of EVF's budget comes from OP, them having representation on EVF's board seems reasonable to me.)

It's not clear to me which direction this pushes in. On the one hand, it does seem kind of fair. On the other hand, having chains of organisations passing money around the same set of people seems like it could obscure conflicts of interest, whether intentionally or not.

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